1. Nepal and China have a long history of political, economic, religious, social and cultural relations. Although recorded history can be traced out only from early 5th century AD we can infer based on the intense cultural affinities of either side whether Shakyamuni Buddha or the Confucius, it can be assumed that the civilizational contacts between Nepal and China could have been happened in the prehistoric period since. The story of Manjushree, known in China as Wen Shu Pu Sa, is narrated in Nepal as founder of Kathmandu valley who cut the gorge to drain out the water from the lake to make the Kathmandu Valley habitable.
2. Nepali Monk Buddhabhadra who was born in Kapilvastu in 358 in the Shakya family came to China in the 5th century on the request of great Chinese Traveller Pao Yun, who was in a tour of South Asia, to enhance the learning on Buddhism. Buddhabhadra left for China with the Chinese delegation in 406 and arrived at Qingdao in 409 via Vietnam. Upon his arrival in China, he first went to Ch’ang-an, one of old Chinese capitals at that time. In 410 he went to Lu Shan with some forty disciples. The Emperor later invited to Jian Kang, the modern Nanjing, on the persuasion of Fa Xian, who had then returned from his visit of South Asia. The Emperor of China had accorded him a warm welcome at the imperial palace. He spent rest of his life in Nanjing. Great monk Buddha Bhadra spent his whole life in China serving the Chinese people by translating Buddhist scriptures from Shanskrit into Chinese and preaching Buddhism. Fifteen of his translated works are said to be still preserved in China. The most noted work which Buddhabhadra translated into Chinese in collaboration with Fa Xian was Maha-Parinirvana-Sutra (discourse on the Great Decease) in six volumes. Others included the Vinayapitaka (the code of monastic discipline) of the Mahasanghika School in thirty-four chapters, Mahasanghika Vinaya in forty volumes, Buddhanusmriti-Samadhi (a discourse on the contemplation of the Buddha), Samadhi Sutra, Vipulya Sutra, Ghava Sutra, Gyan Sutra and Manjushree Sutra of Swear Vow. Buddhabhadra and his contemporary Fa Xian were spiritually tied friends. Fa Xian had traveled to Lumbini, the birth place of Lord Buddha and Buddhabhadra. Knowing that Buddhabhadra has arrived in Nanjing, Fa Xian came back to China in 412 with all his scriptures to work together and translate them into Chinese. They remained together for the rest of their life in promoting Buddhist philosophy in China, which is still acclaimed by historians and scholars. Buddhabhadra earned great fame among the scholars and made many disciples A life-size bronze statue of Buddhabhadra is erected in the premises of Zhanshan Temple of Qingdao in 2011.) His tomb was kept in the famous Tongling Temple in Jiujiang city of Jiangxi Province. He is also known his Chinese name as Jue Xian Fa Shi means absolutely nice abbot/master.
3. Nepal and China’s spiritual connections and friendly contacts were not only linked by the religious attachments but also widened by explorations, matrimonial ties and cultural exchanges in the following the early 5th century Buddha Bhadra- Fa Xian period. Xuan Zhang, a famous Chinese traveler, visited Lumbini and probably to Kathmandu, in the 7th century. His travelogue explains the life and economy of Kathmandu at that time. A magnificent palace mentioned in his travelogue called Kailashkut is still a subject to explore by the archaeologists. His voyage to South Asia during the pre-medieval time greatly helped exchange cultural values and philosophies of each other. Now, the travel writings of Xuan Zang have been a main source of then history of Nepal.
4. A Nepali Princess Bhrikuti (Khridzun) was given in marriage to Tibetan King Songtsan Gampo in 639. It is said that she significantly contributed to introducing Buddhism in Tibet.. She is also remembered for the construction of the first ancient temples in Tibet including Potala Palace and Jhokang temple. She brought artistic images of Arya Tara, Avalokiteshwara and Akshothya Buddha in Tibet from Nepal. Bhrikuti is usually represented as Harit Tara (Green Star) in Tibet. Potala Palace and Jokang temple, which bear the images of Bhrikuti, speaks of the greatness of our cultural and spiritual ties.
5. Our shared cultural connections extend beyond these mighty Himalayas to embrace deep rooted arts, architectures and scripts having commonalities. The styles of the temples, old buildings, their window pans and wooden beams to name few that speak a volume about the strong influence cultures in either sides for centuries. One of the most striking evidences is the continuity of the Ranjana script (scripts of Kathmandu based Newar ethnic community) used to inscribe sacred chants in the prayer wheels around Buddhist temples in China indicates the influence of Kathmandu in Chinese Buddhism. The script has been spread not only in Tibet but also throughout the monasteries of Chinese mainland and Mongolia.
6. Inside Lama Temple or Yonghe Gong in Beijing, one of the most revered and famous places in China, a 300 plus year old statue still stand firmly. The giant log on which Buddha’s image has been engraved was brought all the way from Nepal with untiring efforts of 3 years. It is so gratifying to note that the world’s tallest wooden statue, also recorded in the Guinness book, came to China from Nepal remains as a monument of our historical ties.
Dimensions of Current Relations
7. After the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949 and the ushering in of democracy in Nepal in 1951, both countries showed interest to enter into formal diplomatic relations. A Chinese delegation led by China’s Ambassador to India Yuan Zhongxian visited Nepal and had a detailed discussion with the Nepali side for the establishment of diplomatic relations. An agreement formalizing diplomatic relations on the basis of Panchasheel, the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, was singed on 1 August 1955 in Kathmandu by Principal Royal Adviser Sardar Gunja Man Singh and Chinese Ambassador Yuan Zhongxian on behalf of respective governments. China is the 5th country with which Nepal had established diplomatic relations whereas for China, Nepal was the 22th. Ambassador Yuan was concurrently appointed Ambassador to Nepal and Nepal also appointed its Ambassador to India, Lt. Gen. Daman Shumsher Jung Bahadur Rana concurrently as its first Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China. Nepal-China relations have always remained good, cordial and progressively enriched over the 62 years now. These relations have been marked by friendliness, mutual support and understanding and appreciation of each other’s aspirations and sensitivities. Both the countries are abiding by the ideals of the Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence.
8. The People’s Republic of China opened its residential Embassy in Kathmandu in July 1960 and Nepal opened its residential Embassy in Beijing in September 1961. The first residential Ambassadors were respectively Zhang Shijie and Kaiser Bahadur K.C.
9. Nepal and China share a long border, spanning a range of 1414 Kilometers. Our two Governments resolved border issue amicably in 1961 in the fundamental interest of the two countries and peoples. Notwithstanding the high and mighty Himalayas that separate (or connect) our two countries, we have overcome all geographical difficulties in further consolidating our age-old ties of friendship and co-operation.
10. Nepal China relations are described as a model of good neighbourliness between a small and a large country with different political systems. Nepal has always been upholding One China policy. The Government of Nepal (GoN) is firm in its principled stand not to allow Nepalese territory to be used against China. China on the other hand, has always treated Nepal as an equal and friendly partner respecting its sovereignty, territorial integrity and national independence.
11. Nepal is the only country that has been privileged to maintained a Consulate General in Lhasa, the capital of the Tibetan Autonomous Region. There is a large presence of people of Nepali origin in Tibet living in harmony with the locals pursuing different vocations. Nepal also maintains Consulate General in Hong Kong and Guangzhou. Kathmandu is connected by direct air links from Lhasa, Chengdu, Kunming, Guangzhou and Hong Kong.
12. As a Permanent Member of the UN Security Council, Nepal is of the conviction that only with meaningful role of China, the acts and decisions of the UN achieves greater support from the world community. The responsible role being played by China to maintain international and regional peace and achieve a harmonious world will always be laudable for Nepal. Nepal had taken a leading role in sponsoring China’s admission to the United Nations and all other international agencies. In the UN human rights body sessions, Nepal has consistently voted in favor of China. China has deeply appreciated Nepal’s stand in this respect.
13. Exchange of bilateral visits immensely contributed to further nurturing Nepal-China bilateral relations and promoting the understanding between the two countries. The following are some of the important exchange of visits, though there have been several other visits at different levels from various walks of life:
Former Prime Minister Mr.Tanka Prasad Acharya in 1956
Former Prime Minister Mr. Bishweshwar Prasad Koirala in 1960
King Mahendra in 1961
Former Prime Minister Mr. Kirtinidhi Bista in 1972, 1978
King Birendra in 1973, 1982, 1987, 1993, 1996, 2001
Prime Minister Mr. Girija Prasad Koirala in 1992, 1993
Former Prime Minister Mr. Manmohan Adhikari 1995
Former Prime Minister Mr. Sher Bahadur Deuba in 1996
Former King Gyanendra in 2002, 2005
Prime Minister Mr. Pushpa Kamal Dahal “Prachand” in 2008 (Closing ceremony of the Olympics) and met President H.E. Mr. Xi Jinping in October 2016 in Goa, India on the sidelines of the BRICS and BIMSTEC Summit). Attended Boao Forum for Asia and had meeting with President H.E. Mr. Xi Jinping in March 2017.
Former Prime Minister Mr. Madhav Kumar Nepal in 2009
Former Prime Minister Mr. Sushil Koirala (Second China South Asia Exposition and 22nd China Kunming Import and Export Commodities) in 2014 and (met H.E. Mr. Xi Jinping in April 2015 in Jakarta, Indonesia on the sidelines of the Commemorative Conference of the 60th Anniversary of the Afro Asian Summit)
Former President Dr. Ram Baran Yadav in 2010 (Closing ceremony of the Shanghai Expo)and (Boao Forum for Asia) in 2015
Former Prime Minister Mr. K.P. Oli in 2016
Former Vice President Mr. Parmananda Jha (First China South Asia Exposition in Kunming) 2013 and (Sixth Euro-Asia Economic Forum of the SCO at Xi’an, Shanxi Province) 2015
Rt. Hon’ble Vice President Mr. Nanda Bahadur Pun (4th China South Asia Exposition and 24th China Kunming Import and Export Commodities in Yunnan Province) in 2016.
Premier Mr. Zhou Enlai in 1957 and 1960
Mr. Deng Xiaoping in 1978 (in his capacity as Vice Premier)
Premier Mr. Zhou Ziyang in 1981
President Mr. Li Xiannian in 1984
Premier Mr. Li Peng in 1989
President Mr. Jiang Zemin in 1996
Premier Mr. Zhu Rongji in 2001
Premier Mr. Wen Jiabao in January 2012.
Economic Cooperation and Assistance
The major on-going projects under Chinese assistance includes
a. Upper Trishuli 3A Hydropower Project – Power Station and Transmission Line Projects (Concessional Loan)
b. Food/Material Assistance (Grant) in Northern 10 bordering Districts
c. Kathmandu Ring Road Improvement Project with Flyover Bridges – Grant.
d. Tatopani Frontier Inspection Station Project (Construction of ICDs at Zhangmu- Kodari)-Grant
e. Acquisition of Aircrafts under the Chinese Government Grant Assistance
f. Procurement of Aircrafts under the Chinese Government Concessional Loan
g. National Armed Police Force Academy Project-Grant
h. Pokhara International Regional Airport- Loan agreement to be signed soon.
i. West Seti Power Project- IB of Nepal is working on it.
j. Installation of Solar Energy in Singha Durbar
k. Recently sign agreement to upgrade kyorong border, earthquake reconstition, ask with ministry of finace the complete list before finalization
Some projects requested for future consideration under the Chinese assistance includes:
a. Upgrading of Arniko Highway (Dhulikhel-Barhabise-Kodari Section);
b. Construction of Dhankuta-Khandbari-Kimathanka Road;
c. Upgrading of Kathmandu Ring Road (2nd Phase);
d. Inclusion of 510 Tradable Items of Nepalese Products (in 6 Digit HS code with simplified rules of Origin) in the List of Duty Free & Quota Free (DFQF) Facilities Provided by China;
e. Detailed Project Report (DPR) Preparation of Rasuwagadhi- Kathmandu and Kathmandu-Pokahara-Lumbini Railway Project;
f. Construction of 132 KV Double Circuit Transmission Lines Monopole Structure around Kathmandu Ring Road with three GIS 132/11 KV Sub-stations;
g. Arun-Kimathanka Hydropower Project (434 MW);
h. Feasibility Study on Chilime (Rasuwagadhi-Keyrong) 400KV Cross-Border Transmission Lines between Nepal and China;
i. Construction of Storage Facilities for the Petroleum Products’ in three locations of Nepal
j. Expansion of Civil Service Hospital (500 beds and related facilities).
k. 10 Schools Project in North hilly region
l. China-Nepal Agriculture Technical Cooperation Project
m. Timure Frontier Inspection Station Project-thins is in contracted out for desing
Embassy of Nepal
23 May 2017